Venues

The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts

The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts
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Cost
10-course Gourmand Menu R1600 (R2250 with wine pairing, R2000 with tea pairing), Pescatarian Menu R1600, Vegetarian Menu R1200
Ambience
Classic elegance, Contemporary cool
Food
Fine-dining food, Modern
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500
2016 top 10
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Critic's review

Katharine Jacobs

Food
This is food entertainment as richly layered and enjoyable as a well-written film. Luke Dale-Roberts’s constant mantra is flavour, flavour, flavour – and nothing he and his team produce will be oversalted, ill-conceived, or dull. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

After a sally of appetisers come two knockout quail dishes. First, a Peking-style breast in spectacular house hoisin with coriander, all tucked into a tiny sandwich of paper-thin pastry. The best way to eat it is in one mouthful – but it’ll leave you wanting more. Then there’s confit quail leg: perfectly tender little drumsticks served on pine needles, with burnt onion cream dolloped over pine-roasted chestnuts, for dipping purposes. It’s up to you to pick a winner. But there’s scarcely time, because next up is a smoked duck with a tasty walnut-and-date frangipane and a flourish of garlic and paprika pastes and foie-gras.

Even when classic flavour combinations are used, Luke finds a way to elevate them. A succulent scallop dish is wrapped in thin, crispy house-cured bacon and topped with crispy sage leaves – so far, so classic – but morsels of sweet black garlic with a gentle peck of capers and pine nuts add the final pinch of flavour to balance the sweet-salty picture.

While the menu shows Luke’s love of Asian flavours, the menu also gives a nod to South Africa. A curry-glazed kingklip dish pays tribute to a classic Cape Malay dish, with a beautifully creamy carrot-and-cashew purée to add a touch of refinement. There’s springbok loin too, crimson in the centre, plated on a splash of red-cabbage emulsion and a streak of almond cream. It’s hard to resist the urge to take a photograph.

Luke’s other talent is including unusual ingredients without compromising on the yum factor. If you’ve only ever known chamomile as a slightly insipid tea, then a pre-dessert scattered with the fragrant little yellow flowers will blow you away. Tiny friandises are soaked in burnt butter and laid with a creamy buttermilk quenelle on sublime gravel composed of roasted sunflower seeds and crumbs of honeycomb.

The second sweet offering highlights another fabulous but forgotten flavour: rhubarb. This dish is hot and cold, thanks to the flash-frozen blood-orange cells, scattered like confetti over the plate. It’s sharp and soft and crunchy.

Drinks
Sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoka presides over a clever wine list showcasing South Africa’s most downright delicious wines in two price brackets. For those considering the wine pairing, there are two options: a pull-out-all-the-stops version, and a more affordable but great-quality list. There’s also a gorgeous cocktail trolley, from which a barman will prepare you a custom cocktail. Finish with an excellent Cape port from the port trolley.

Service
Expect confident, understated service from a professional team. Servers weigh in and assist with other tables for certain dishes, which adds a nice variety to the evening.

Ambience
The restaurant has just completed a massive refurbishment. The space is now split in two by a full height, charred wood wall. On one side, a dark, moody lounge; on the other, a light, elegant, 40-seater dining space. The original tables have been reupholstered and set with white linen. Dove grey and pale blue keep things light and fresh – although the original exposed brickwork remains.

And…
The Test Kitchen has moved to a month-to-month booking system, so instead of planning months in advance, you’ll now just need to wake up very early on the morning of the first.

(October 2016)

Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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  • Graham Howe

    Food
    Multiple Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year winnings and consecutive listings in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has put this rising South African star on the global map.

    Take a seat at the bar counter next to the open kitchen to watch the crew of chefs prepare some of the most adventurous fare in the country in front of your eyes – and shout a chorus of ayes when patron chef Luke Dale-Roberts announces every order.

    The best way for a novice to taste a range of signature dishes is to take a culinary journey through one of the set discovery, gourmand or vegetarian menus, with optional wine or tea pairings. The contemporary menu transforms ingredients using cutting-edge techniques that reflect Luke’s eclectic east-meets-west culinary style. The natural flavours of seasonal fare are enhanced through adventurous combinations and imaginative interpretations of local seafood, meats and vegetables. Every dish is a visual delight, layered with aroma, colour, flavour and texture in a clean, subtle and balanced style.

    Watch out for the new springbok rose – liver, chestnuts, beetroot and cocoa nib. The tastes and textures of the sea, forest and land are poached, puréed and pickled to elevate the main ingredient with piquant Asian umami (shiitake in squid-ink chawanmushi with chestnuts), wood-smoked flavours (roasted cauliflower cream fumé), frothy foams (burnt red onion) and earthy mushrooms and root vegetables.

    Inspired by the quality of artisanal produce sourced from local growers, markets and suppliers, every morsel tempts with playful food combinations (salt-aged scallop with squid ink in mirin tea) and imaginative compositions (signature slow-roasted pork belly with parsley-pressed apple squares and wild-rosemary-infused honey).

    Head chef Ivor Jones and his crew pay meticulous attention to every detail of the artfully plated fare on bespoke crockery, which delights the eye as well as the palate.

    Cleansing your palate with a pre-dessert is like a walk in a citrus orchard infused with the fragrance of zesty oranges and lemons. No wonder Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck calls Luke “a truly fantastic chef who puts incongruent ingredients together in a way that works amazingly well”.

    Drinks
    Expect inspired pairings with every plate. New sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoka is at hand with a Champagne chariot to advise on drinks, from cutting-edge Cape and international marques to unusual wine varieties, new blends and craft beers.

    Service
    Top-notch, with smart servers in the know on the composition and ingredients that go into every dish, and ready with cool recommendations on the chef’s signature and seasonal dishes. The delivery of multiple courses of the tasting menus is well paced.

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    Refreshingly relaxed. The retro warehouse space draws gastro-tourists from around the world, with a buzz of excitement every time a dish arrives at a neighbouring table.

    And…
    Book far ahead. You might have to wait months, but getting a table is all part of the anticipation. An insider’s tip: lunch tables are a shorter wait. Or put your name on the waiting list and be surprised by an invite to dinner one evening. Your turn will come!

    (September 2015)

  • Eat Out

    Food
    Local and international food lovers alike flock to this gem, often after a month-long wait to get a table – and what an exceptional meal awaits them. It’s no surprise that this celebrated eatery by chef Luke Dale-Roberts, the very deserving third-time winner of Restaurant of the Year, is now featured on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Incorporating South African flavours and some serious Asian flair, every dish is technically precise, totally original and beautiful to look at. More importantly, every mouthful, created under the watchful eye of head chef Ivor Jones, is delicious. The grilled scallop with miso and shiitake is brimming with expertly layered, clean Asian flavours – a beautifully balanced and well thought-out delight. A creation of ‘foie gras with four trees’ charms with flavours of oak, pine, chestnut and maple. The seared springbok is an innovative dish, with a turnip milk stencil in the form of a tree and a splash of fermented red cabbage. Every course shines with its own identity and outstanding quality.

    Wine
    An extensive wine list with a great selection of local wines. Sommelier Wayve Kolevsohn furnishes professional service and knowledgeable recommendations.

    
Service 

    Flawless, professional and slick, with smartly turned out staff members gliding quietly between the tables.

    
Ambience
    A perfect blend of edge and elegance. Seated in this workshop of a culinary master, you might feel like you’re in New York or Copenhagen. It’s been said before, but Luke has put Cape Town on the map.

    Comments by the 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards judges 


    “Luke is a genius chef who excites and challenges the palates of his diners through flavour, ingredients, innovation and attitude. Every year it gets better and better.” – Abigail Donnelly

    “Luke’s cooking feels almost effortless, even when you know it’s anything but.” – Kate Wilson

    (August 2014)

     

  • Sheer in-your-face virtuosity, gutsy innovation and flavour. Luke Dale-Roberts’s dishes are experimental, exciting and conceptual. For this year’s judges, The Test Kitchen is the best combination of fine dining, venue, wine and theatre in the country. The casual, industrial-style setting belies the calibre of the cooking. No one can compete with Luke’s thinking, flavours and artful presentation. A micro universe is offered on every plate, so it’s difficult to choose highlights, but among them are Luke’s XO sauce, café au lait beef, maple-braised shabu shabu; roasted bone marrow; langoustine and smoked quail; clam and green tea pasta; veal tongue and mussel pie; pig’s head and blue cheese; and plum-cured foie gras. (Eat Out magazine 2014)
  • Linda Scarborough

    Food
    Words like experimental, inventive, thrilling and daring don’t even begin to describe eating at The Test Kitchen. Every dish shines brilliantly, from conception to execution, on your palate and in your memory. Executive chef Luke Dale-Roberts, who was named One to Watch by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013 (The Test Kitchen is at no. 53) is virtuosic with his flavours, techniques, treatments and artful presentation. Choose either three courses from the ever-evolving menu (also offered for vegetarians – ask them to omit the gelatine if you’re strict), a five-course discovery, or go for the ten-course gourmand tasting menu. While eminently conceptual, the food follows through on flavour – and then some. The plates of ‘entertainments’ between the courses will amaze and amuse you too. Fairy-sized logs, croquettes and swirls arrive on stone squares and you might be served the now-famous savoury millionaire shortbread with gold salt, mirrored later in a sweet dessert. Luke’s Asian influence interplays with classic French techniques in dishes like cabbage three ways (one of them Korean-style kimchi) with horseradish cream and a flash of liquorice dust; smoked beef fillet with gorgonzola cream, miso-cured quail yolks and polenta parmesan tuille; and a sensational dessert combining passion-fruit curd, brûlée bananas, brandy snaps and mango sorbet that sings on your tongue. Unforgettable ingredients will seduce you out of your comfort zone, such as pig’s head and blue cheese, roasted bone marrow, veal tongue and mussel pie. Ultimately, describing The Test Kitchen’s food is futile. You have to eat there to fully experience the awe.

    Wine
    A world class wine list. Some very unusual wine pairings show off the innovative food. Best you surrender your taste buds to the expert sommelier, Wave. The cocktails are also praiseworthy, especially the pineapple cosmo punctuated with vanilla beans.

    Service
    Young, beautiful and highly trained waiters have a lot to live up to, and do. The staff-to-guest ratio is probably higher than you’ll find anywhere else.

    Ambience
    Walking through the unassuming doors, you will find yourself immersed in a stylishly edgy environment. The gleaming steel of the open-plan kitchen is complemented by industrial-inspired light fittings, wood and neutral hues. World travellers, food lovers and adventure seekers wait months for a table. Fittingly, a dramatic atmosphere prevails.

    And...
    Did we mention that you need to book ahead? Make a reservation right now. (Linda Scarborough, September 2013)

User reviews

  • We have eaten here 7 times and I have given them good reviews in the past , at least every year since it opened, which considering we come all the way from the UK is not bad. Booking used to be easy. given we were limited to only a couple of days out of 365 when we could eat here we would book a reasonable time in advance. The booking process has changed and now at 0800 South Africa Time (0600 UK) on the 1st of each month , all bookings for the entire next month open. i emailed to explain this new process would be difficult and never heard back. I put it in my diary however and got up at 0545 and got the computer cranked up. At 0600 bookings opened but most days in December had already gone. i managed to get a table for two after trying for 20mins but then the system crashed. i tried ringing but no one answered and I tried emailing but no one replies. So much for being a loyal customer. They don't seem bothered about individuals any more. What a mess...not what you would expect and not what I have had from other top 50 restaurants. Visited December 2015
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  • Extremely disappointed in The Test Kitchen. 7 months of anticipation and what a let down! Food was below par, never eaten so much gelatin in my life. Worst part - they could 'not find' my R1500 deposit so It was not deducted from my bill. Ruined the evening and after I complained via email got a very 'sorry, not sorry' response. 48 hours later and still no deposit repaid. not worth the 10 k bill.
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  • After being super excited to experience the food at The Test Kitchen, we left disappointed and sorry that we did not rather go away for a whole weekend....for the same amount of money! No matter how small you make 10 courses, you WILL leave feeling completely stuffed. Why should I have 3 deserts (and not even one contained chocolate!)? And then be given a few, 'extra', sweet bites afterwards (and 4 little starters as the first course), almost as if you are feeling guilty for the amount you are charging and wanting to say: "But wait....there's more!!" And believe me, if you pay that much, you finish every single course! Don't get me wrong, the food was prepared to perfection. BUT after 10 courses it all turns into a blur and thinking back I can only remember 2 courses that I thought was amazing! My advise - rather go there for lunch so that you can choose what and how much to eat... or just go away for the weekend!
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  • As always this is the BEST restaurant in Africa and for me in the world. The ever changing dishes that is so well thought out and tested ....AWESOME. Thank you the the amazing staff of the Test Kitchen...the moment you enter the door, wonderful waiters, chefs and of course Luke Dale Roberts....what an life changing experience to me eating there. Thank you. Truly Golden moment in my life
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  • Would need a few new words in the foodie dictionary to accurately describe the sensational food of this place. BEST service ever. Every course exciting and uber tasty. Excellent wine pairings. Highly recommended and worth the wait.
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  • After waiting 6 months for a reservation, we decided to book for my 30th Birthday, we were first seated next to the toilets and then requested to move. There was a media table there that night that were clearly given the nicest table within the small restaurant, and the whole night we had photographers walking around our table to get shots of them, other than this the food was not worth the prices charged, and the flavours were average. the Pot Luck club is by far better and more reasonable, would not return to The test kitchen.
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  • Having heard that it is a) South Africa's no1 restaurant and b) that they have a waiting list to eat there, myself and several colleagues, who eat in top end restaurants around the world, decided to see what all the hype was about. Unfortunately I have to say that Test Kitchen didn't live up to its expectation. The desert was the highlight of the meal. After chatting with my colleagues about the restaurant, the general consensus was that the food was fine but nothing stood out to give a 'wow' factor, plus charging New York prices doesn't bode well for what we could only describe as an average meal.
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  • Absolutely superb!!! Whenever I can get a reservation it will always be my first choice. Had lunch on Friday the 18/9/2014 .
    Every mouth full was a delight and surprise. Who ever thought that Luke Dale Roberts and his team can still surpass there amazing standards and wonderful clever and innovative dishes?!? I have eaten all over the world in fine dining restaurants. This restaurant can match any top ten in the world. The Test Kitchen is surely the best in SA.
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  • Dining at The Test Kitchen was such a treat, from the overall service to the mind-blowing detail and taste bud explosion of each delicious course (including the many surprises in between). Superb experience, I can't wait to be back
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  • Six of us had dinner last night, and all the raves are totally true! It was one of the best meals of my life, and I'm already saving to go back. We had a wonderful time and were engaged, thrilled, enchanted, surprised and excited by every plate. By the time you're through the 5-course menu (which actually is more like an 8 course with various titbits, starters, amuse bouches, palate cleansers and the like), you''re in complete sensory overload. Thanks for agreat experience.
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  • Despite all its accolades as top restaurant gor many years, I did not really enjoy the experience of rating there after the first time, once the novelty had worn off. The ambience is quite dull and the decor is drab. The restaurant, in a converted warehouse, is too hot and stuffy in summer and too cold in winter.
    The staff are super- efficient, but there is a steely determination about the service, which is faultless, but uninspired and unfriendly. No one smiles! Keeping up the role of top restaurant is a serious business, clearly!
    The meal is technically perfect, but one does not have a happy, carefree evening there. It's not fun! One feels as if one is an audience watching Masterchef. Dale- Roberts, the owner- chef, looks pretty gloomy all the time
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  • What a fantastic restaurant without any fault or criticism,deserving to be listed as one of the Top Ten in the World UNTIL,before my very eyes,towards the end of the evening the following:
    Most guests have the wine pairings with their meal so wines are kept centrally in front of the bar.In order to avoid "waste" the last remaining drops "Dregs/Sediment" is ceremoniously poured into a half empty bottle when available of the same wine-Big mistake and totally unnecessary taking account of the expense of the restaurant.I have never experienced this anywhere,has anyone else?
    I did enquire as to whether those wines were used the following day in the kitchen-No,at the end of the evening those half empty bottles are sealed and put under a "nitrogen container" and re-used until presumably empty,including the "Dregs"!!
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  • <p> Ate there 12/10/2013<br /> Lives up to all that was ever said and then some.<br /> Exceptional food, excellent service.<br /> Will definitely return.</p>
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  • <p> There is hardly anything to say apart from the fact that this is undoubtedly the best restaurant in South Africa by far! Loved it, dreaming of the next meal there!</p>
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  • <p> The serving of pork belly dotted with drops of hugely expensive teeny overindulged taste things is a combined weight of around 8 grams. It&#39;s like being offered a teaspoon of good wine...</p>
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  • <p> A few weeks after my previous review, I had the opportunity to go back to The Test Kitchen.<br /> This time the whole experience was sublime.<br /> The food - The flavours were well balanced, extremely imaginative and very exciting.<br /> The service - Excellent<br /> I am looking forward to trying the Pot Luck Club next.</p>
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  • We chose the Gourmand Menu last night.

    The Wine - the pairing was off and the wines were average and I feel that there is no need to import the Van Volxem Shiefer Riesling when we have beautiful local wines.

    The Food - The tasting plate at the start was very exciting and two of the 8 dishes were excellent (Pig's head and blue cheese and the "shabu shabu")

    We struggled to get the bitter taste of the Kumquat and Shiso pallet cleanser out of our mouth.

    I wondered if we ordered wrong? But this is not what you want to ask yourself at a restaurant like this.

    The Service - Did not feel personal. We felt rushed through the courses and when I said that I felt rushed it was explained that they always rush the first four courses?

    From the experience I had last night I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.

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  • I had the 3 course meal, was not up to the standard you should expect. I was only impressed by the snacks.

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  • We had the pleasure to taste Luke Dale-Robert's sublime Discovery Menu. The 5 course meal blew us away, except for the fish - mushy tasteless hake, course. I definitely did not let that spoil the experience. I recommend the scallop starter, the fillet and the suckling pig is the most amazing dish on the menu. I am excited for his Pot Luck Club this weekend.

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  • Another FANTASTIC dinner at Test Kitchen last night! Food, service, atmosphere, decor - it all adds up to being the the best in Cape Town, South Africa, and one of the best in the world. Can't wait until next time!

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  • From the beginning to the 2.5 hour sitting end, eating here had been a pleasure and a gastronomic delight. One of the best we've ever been to. Hope they will keep up the good work and expectations. Friendly staff, great flavours.

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  • We had lunch yesterday with starters and a main. Nice presentation and very good taste. But the portions were very small. At number 1 we expect more as in a bistro. Wooden chairs without cushions are hard. Table with metallic surface without a table cloth is ok for an outside pub. To sit next to a big table with very loud people makes it difficult to have a conversation with the partner. And last to get out hungry was not amusing.

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  • After many attempts at co-ordinating our calendars and their availability, we finally had ate at the Test Kitchen last night. And boy was it worth the wait! Each of our choices of the 5-course paired menu was simply spectacular and clichéd as it sounds, each dish seemed to explode in a carnival of flavours. We were particularly impressed with how carefully every item on the plate was carefully selected to offer the full spectrum of sweet and sour, smooth and crunchy in one dish. We agreed that the wines chosen to accompany each course were so perfectly complementary, that to have either the 5-course or gourmand menu without the wine pairing would mean missing out on half the experience. Having raved about the food, I must add that the service was faultless. Each server was attentive, impressively efficient and the rhythm of the restaurant hummed at a slick, comfortable pace. I was so pleased when the Greenhouse deservedly won top spot last year. I’ll be surprised and disappointed if the Test Kitchen doesn’t clinch it this year.

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  • Amazing restaurant! So tasty, not expensive and we sat right at the counter so we could watch the kitchen in action. Attentive staff and excellent food.

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  • I just had the chance to have lunch at the counter of the Test Kitchen today and, yes, it was great and, yes, Dale-Roberts was every bit deserving of the Eat Out Best Chef honour for 2011. But the meal also spurred a conversation between my companion and me about the general state of restaurants here and why the Test Kitchen is so unique. When looking back at the past decade or so, the South African restaurant community has had something of a Napoleon complex, proclaiming a wealth of world-class restaurants -- most of which, if one is to be brutally honest, would fall short on the world stage. Not so with the Test Kitchen, which is simply amazing by any standard. One only hopes that Luke Dale-Roberts will rise to the international acclaim of the likes Thomas Keller, Dan Barber, Grant Achaz, Rene Redpezi. He is simply that good and gives me hope that other younger chefs will follow his lead.

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  • After a 2 month wait, we finally got to experience the Test Kitchen and what a great evening. We tried the 5 course meal and wine pairing and it was succulent. Plenty of different tastes to enjoy, although my husband would have liked to see more fish dishes on the menu. Excellent service and very accommodating staff. The view of the open kitchen (surprisingly quiet) gives a good view of how the food is being prepared and creates a great atmosphere. The restaurant is worth all the good reviews for sure.

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  • 3 course set menu last night at R375. Absolutely incredible. Service brilliant. Presentation beautiful. Tastes brilliantly combined. 10 out of 10 Luke!

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  • When I called to book a table there was a month's waiting list. So we waited...the gastronomic experience we had at Luke's Test Kitchen surpasses all else! We eat out at top 10 restaurants at least once a month and this place sure deserves its place high up on the list! The ambience is different with the open kitchen and being privy to the prep and creations of the master chef himself is enthralling. I definitely recommend that you start with a cocktail as they are sooo yummy and different. We did the 5 course wine pairing menu and every dish was phenomenal, creative, so sublime in flavours and textures. The service was charming and attentive and Luke's personal visit to our table was a nice touch and showed his true passion to his art! I have no more words other than to say - you have to go!.

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  • Once again, amazing. My guest and I shared the 4 starters for lunch and had room to share 2 desserts and he was blown away. A difficult experience to top. I doubt we will.

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  • Thank you, Luke and your team, for another extraordinary dining experience - all aspects were faultless (and I am fussy!). You get it right everytime!

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  • Very, very special.

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  • Relaxed ambience. Artistic and delicious food. Efficient service and fantastic wine list.

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  • I had a fantastic lunch there on a Saturday afternoon. Perfect setting to give expression to the image of a "food laboratory". The tasting menu was well thought out, the tastes fantastically combined. The only thing I found lacking was the choice of the wine pairings. It was as if the wines were paired to play a very distant second fiddle to the food. The dishes definitely deserved the centre stage but I found the wine choices a little bland. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the aromas of the wines were literally blown out of the glass because we were seated right underneath the industrial strength ceiling fan as well as near an open window where the draft was quite bad.

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  • I had an unbelievably good dinner at The Test Kitchen on Tuesday night. I had to book a fair way in back to get a table and taking into account the recent Eat Out Awards, my expectations were high.

    We all opted for the 5 course Discovery Menu and sampled all of the options. It was the most interesting, creative and beautiful food that I have had in Cape Town to date. The service was very attentive, but yet unobtrusive.

    The ambience was buzzing, and looking at all the activity in the new Tapas Restaurant that they have opened next door, I will definitely be trying that out very soon.

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  • Overrated, overpriced and pretentious in an iffy location for night time visiting.

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  • Finally got an opportunity to dine at the Test Kitchen and it was sublime. We ordered the line fish and pork belly, which were beyond compare. The presentation, depth of taste and quality of ingredients are evidence of a truly world class restaurant. Bravo Test Kitchen!

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  • Probably one of the best meals that my foodie mate and I have ever shared - the pork belly was sublime. I still salivate a little at the thought - and the duck and fois gras parcel was a revelation. Looks like it pays to follow Luke Dale Roberts about Cape Town as he does his thing (and very well at that).

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  • I was in two minds writing this review, as I believe that anyone can have a bad day, but decided that I just cannot keep quiet about this. Being a foodie from Johannesburg and not having the luxury of dining in some of South Africa’s finest restaurants I was very excited to try out The Test Kitchen as I’ve heard only good things about it. I must say that I was somewhat disappointed…
    I was shown to my table for one right by the open kitchen, a great treat for anyone who enjoys watching chefs at work. In the ten minutes that I waited for some acknowledgment I had the benefit of eyeing out all the dishes coming out of the kitchen, making my decision somehow difficult as everything looked good.
    I decided to go for the tuna tataki starter and the duck crepe main.
    The tuna came beautifully presented but when tasted was rather bland. The dressing did not have enough flavour nor did the green vegetable accompaniments. The only really delicious thing on the plate was the grilled aubergine but unfortunately there were only four tiny pieces of it which didn’t go far even when delicately dissected in half. I’m sure that with a little more umami flavour the dish would have been great.
    I was willing to forgive the chefs for the first dish just by the way my duck main looked. From my seat I could see how the chef delicately pulled the soft duck breast meat off the bone and placed it in a crepe together with the tiny diced vegetables and hoisin sauce and gently rolled it all together to form a delicious looking dish.
    To my utter disappointment I was presented with a rather boring folded crepe with nothing inside, a tiny over cooked and dry duck leg on the bone next to it, some scattered diced veggies and a small ‘salad’. When I asked the waitress for the reason I did not receive the dish as I witnessed it coming out of the kitchen by the numbers, she replied that the chef decided to experiment.
    Experiment? Why experiment with the last dish to come out of the kitchen? If you ask me the chef got lazy and thought he had nothing to lose on a table for one. How about future business and a bad write up?
    I decided to give up on dessert as the kitchen staff had started packing up the kitchen and I didn’t want to be experimented on again.
    A disappointing meal for one at R280 excluding dessert left me rather angry… and hungry.

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  • Last night we enjoyed another spectacular dinner at TTK. A friend wanted to surprise his wife on her birthday by flying down and surprising her at a restaurant in Cape Town. I knew it had to be the Test Kitchen. Not only were the staff perfect in facilitating the surprise, they went on to ensure a perfect evening with their friendly, knowledgeable and proud service. It's such a pleasure to eat the best food in a restaurant with such an amazing atmosphere of camaraderie and buzz, without being snooty.
    The food however was the highlight. Luke you have outdone yourself. Every morsel was a mouthful of heaven. And our friends (who eat out regularly in Johannesburg) kept saying that they have never experienced a meal such as this one ever in their lives. They were completely overwhelmed with the level of care in each dish, the combination of flavours and the special care you took of our table. And each plate was literally licked clean.
    It was a mind-blowing experience and if this is coming across all gushing – it’s meant to! This restaurant is right up there with the best in the world and we are holding all our fingers and toes for a superb result at the Eat Out Awards this year. Needless to say, we will be back, and again, thank you from all of us.

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  • Absolutely the best dining experience in my life! Luke and his staff are artists and it's evident they are passionate about what they do!

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  • Sublime and inspired cooking. Always a treat to come to this restaurant and an excellent way to celebrate. Multiple amuse bouche and sorbets make it a 7 course meal. Delicious sweet potato and brussel sprouts with Parmesan creme Catalan to start. Incredibly tender springbok loin for mains and the best dessert, a pine nut parfait. If in Cape Town do yourself a favour and go to the Test Kitchen!

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  • Without doubt one of Cape Town's finest dining spots. Wonderful flavour combinations, coupled with competent staff - not to mention a well-priced wine list. Make The Test Kitchen a must for everyone looking to spoil your taste buds.

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  • Well thats it - I have had my best restaurant experience of 2011! Finally had the pleasure to dine at The Test Kitchen last night, and although I have always been a huge fan of Luke Dale-Roberts, ever since he arrived in SA/La Colombe, all I can say is BRAVO LUKE - it was completely faultless - a truly world class dining experience. If I was a restaurant on the S.Pellegrino Top 50 list, Id be very nervous....
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  • Another perfect evening - food, wine, service. Luke and his team excelled at every course. Thank you.
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  • We were very disappointed. Sauces were not finished in reduction & taste. Tartar (trout) were slices. Flavour mostly missing, savourless. We had 5 courses, went home hungry. Red wine from the shelf next to the kitchen till up to the ceiling, to be sure its warm enough? Lots of items mentioned on the menu, even if it was just a blob and substantial pieces unmentioned. 40 minutes waiting time from starter to main. Chef Luke ignored our table. On purpose?
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  • We went here in January and it was the most amazing dining experience weve ever had. The venue is cool and hip, the service great (sometimes slightly too eager attention from hostess), but all & all divine!! If they dont make the number one spot this year, I will be very disappointed.
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  • Best concept/food/restaurant in SA. Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant
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  • The best that you can get, just perfect. When I think of the food that I had I drool, and that was a month ago. Cant wait to go back there. You have Gods gift of cooking and tastes. Good team as well, sauces are great.
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  • This is sure to make the number 1 spot next year. This was pure perfection. The venue is nice (a bit small) and cool, but the food was amazing! One of best meals ever. Highly recommended!
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  • Exceptional food from Luke and his team. We sat at the kitchen bar and were fascinated at the care going into every plate, whilst also getting the chance to speak to Luke and taste one of the menu items he is still trying out. This restaurant will be Top 10 this year.
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  • The food is exceptional. The service professional with the right amount of care, without being cloying. The ambience relaxed with being too informal. All in all what a contemporary fine dining restaurant. Luke, you should be proud.
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  • A great experience all round. Fantastic food and attentive service in a relaxed setting, with no airs or graces. What stands out is the food though. I could not fault a single thing! Make sure you sit at the bar, its great for watching the action in the kitchen.
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  • Simply the best.
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  • Never mind the fact that the food was without exception superlative, Luke Dale-Roberts new restaurant redefines all aspects of the fine dining experience, down to the smallest elements. From its intimate size, to the understated design, he has created a space makes you want to linger for longer. To round things off, the prices of the menu, as well as the wine mark ups, are exceptionally reasonable for this quality. I will be back again and again.
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  • Luke Dale-Roberts is in a class of his own. The food at The Test Kitchen was superb. Everything on the plate matched and complimented everything else, there was nothing out of place - everything was perfectly balanced. Given the freedom to be more experimental, Luke Dale-Roberts has created something different from many of the other fine dining establishments which seem to have stagnated. The food is full of fresh flavours, with interesting combinations and small twists. Although the menu is packed with all of the ingedients youd expect from this level of dining, nothing is added just to impress. The ambience of the resturant is intimate and inviting. From the outside, it has a warm glow which draws you in. On the inside, it is modern and industrial, but with enough softer touches that it doesnt feel like youre eating in a sterile warehouse. In fact, it feels like youre eating in someones kitchen. The cooking action is so close, you feel like youre part of it, which makes eating what youve watched being prepared even better. The service is friendly and everyone knows the menus. In short, The Test Kitchen is possibly the best thing to have happened to food in South Africa for a while. The food is exciting and I cant recommend this place highly enough. I cant wait to go back!
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  • All restaurants in Cape Town take note and then step aside. I selfishly did not want to write this review, in that event that I can never get another booking. Top, top, top food - unbelievably delicious. The quail - delicious, the duck - sublime. Two surprises for me - the Mojito with saki cocktail and the tomato and mozzarella dessert with gooseberries (yes, really). To top it off, unobtrusive, friendly service and reasonable corkage. My new mission in life - I need to work my way down the menu.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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